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01-05-2012, 10:48 AM
Join Date: Jan 2010
Originally Posted by
That 97 run was fun. I had no idea, at the time, that would be the last playoff appearance until post lockout. Injuries took a toll on the team. I never knew Kovalev was ready to come back. I always thought the Russ Courtnall trade was to replace the offense that was lost with Kovalev.
I read a book by Carpinello called
Messier: Dragon Slayer
, Messier was very upset with Neil Smith when the Nemchinov/Noonan for Tikkanen/Courtnall trade happened. I learned Messier was a big supporter of Sergei Nemchinov and remain good friends. Yet, I thought Tikkanen was one of Messier's boys.
Tikkanen had a great playoff that year. MSG sometimes replays the game where Tikkanen scores in OT and the refs let the game play. Tikkanen knew he scored. After the whistle, they are reviewing the goal and there is a shot of Tikkanen with a huge smile on his face and his arm around Richter.
Mike Eastwood, Dallas Eakins.
Such great memories. Tikkanen did have a great playoff that year. Along with the goal you mentioned, he scored the series-clinching goal to eliminate the Beezer's Panthers in OT, and I also remember him scoring a laser of a snapshot on a breakaway against Brodeur in I think Game 5 (the game that Graves did his best Matteau impression and eliminated the Devils with yet another OT wraparound goal on Brodeur.)
Gretzky also had a hat trick against the Panthers and against the Flyers. Russ Courtnall played well for us, despite being more remembered for the trade that saw us loose Nemchinov and Noonan.
As others have said, we were so banged up in the Philly series, that we probably would've still lost to Detroit, but you never know. That's part of the beauty of the game. Anything can happen. The tiniest differenes can have huge implications. Maybe Yzerman steps on Messier's stick and breaks his ankle and we go on to win the Cup. Plus, I think Richter could've stopped McCarty's cup-winning goal.
You never know. 97 was still a magical run and I feel lucky to have lived through it.
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